[A Steve Roake report]
Visitors to this site will know the affinity we all show towards all things old and rusty. The articles are normally informative, quirky and always a pleasure to read, so in the spirit of the sentiment, and having just returned from a Hopper festival in Post Mills Vermont USA, I have to tell you about an amazing collection of things. The owner of the airfield is one Brain Boland who is well known in balloon circles for his designs of balloons dating back forty five years. The thing about Brian is he is an eclectic collector of things various and over the years he has accumulated a vast array of everything and on his airfield in his massive hanger / barn under the piles of dust lays this amazing collection of artefacts.
Nothing can prepare you for the overload you get as you walk into his past which starts with over 140 balloons of various shapes and sizes. The collection on the ground floor covers various items ranging from every conceivable type of beer bottle to Dentist chairs and an interesting display of ski poles. Amongst the amazing things crowded in here are at least six VW camper vans of various types, a New York state fire engine and sewing machines from over the years.
The massive barn has been set into sections, with strange mixtures of weird shaped baskets nestling alongside a Hovercraft for example. One section alone is dedicated to old hoovers.
Just as you think you have got used to the overloading that your brain is getting you are ushered upstairs to a mezzanine area that first and foremost you have to comply with the house rule , that you sign the visitors wall – “for seven years good luck”. The upstairs leads you on a further trail of things that Brian has been into from a display of egg cartons to radio gear and posters from over the years and a display of flags from around the world.
Just as you think you’ve seen it all you arrive upon a full size blanik glider and a French aircraft that I’m sure Chris can identify. Finally as you descend outside you come across one of Brian’s creations situated on the airfield. This dinosaur called the Vermontasaurus was created in 2010 out of scrap lumber and created quite a local storm.
If you are interested in it I suggest you look it up on Wikipedia. This article doesn’t even touch upon his collection of carts or cars or the weird dwellings that Brian has collected over the years. Suffice to say the Experimental Balloon festival returns the middle weekend of next year – and I for one suggest a visit is a unique experience well worth the travel. Brian was a School teacher, who created his first hot air balloon as a three dimensional art study, He is still slightly eccentric and takes a lot of pride in his creations – but boy is he entertaining.